“Never give up hope. If you have faith in God, He will help. He has done so much for our family. He has made our faith stronger. I know He has a plan for us. I know that whatever it is, it will be great.”
-Elijah’s mom, Candace
Elijah scoots across the gym and smiles as he reaches the bright orange ball. The happy 15 month-old loves exploring and seeing what he can get into. After a year of therapies, Elijah is continuing to surprise with his determination and ability to overcome the obstacles.
At 17 weeks pregnant, Elijah’s parents, Will and Candace, found out that Elijah would be born with medical concerns. They learned that Elijah’s intestines were growing outside his body, his neck muscles caused his head to turn to the side, he had a general lack of muscular development with damage to most joints, and club feet among a few other conditions. Elijah was born by emergency c-section at 36 weeks and then quickly rushed off to surgery on his abdomen. “We had lots of people praying and prayer chains,” said Candace. And those prayers were answered when Will and Candace were able to bring home their newborn after 17 days in the NICU. Within a few weeks, Elijah began receiving therapy at Special Kids and immediately began making progress and showing us all what a fighter he is.
In physical therapy, Elijah has met all of his neck goals very quickly and no longer has the condition that caused his head is rolled over to the side. He has learned how to roll over, sit up, and catch himself when he falls over. He currently has the goal of going from sitting to laying down and pushing back up again. All of Elijah’s accomplishments are especially amazing since he was born with very little muscle in his arms. He has learned to adapt and use what muscles he has.
“We’ve learned to call it a diffability,” said Candace. “He does things different but that’s what makes us different people. My husband and I want to teach him that he can do anything he sets his mind to as long as he keeps trying.”
In occupational therapy, Elijah has met the goal of pushing buttons on toys, putting his hands to his mouth, and feeding himself with his hands. He is able to compensate for his arms by leaning back to get a cup to his mouth and pushing his arms up with his knees. Now Elijah is working on crawling forward, putting socks on and off, and opening containers. He can even hit the keys on a piano. “Him being able to use his hand like that [on a piano] is just amazing,” said Candace.
“They [Special Kids] have done so much,” said Candace. “Having a staff that are Christians that pray... they pray with us and for him. They care about the wellbeing of my child and family. I’m so thankful that on this journey with Elijah, God has directed us here.”